Trinity’s new cancer technology shrinks radiation therapy time to as little as 90 seconds
August 6, 2012
By the time you finish reading this article, your radiation treatment could be over. That's right. Done. As in, "Have a great day! We'll see you tomorrow." Ninety seconds is all that's needed.
Sound too good to be true? It isn’t, thanks to the TrueBeam™ system that recently was installed at the Trinity Cancer Center. By acquiring the technology, Trinity becomes one of only a few cancer centers in the Midwest and the only one between Des Moines, Iowa, and Peoria, Illinois, to provide patients with a radically different approach to treating cancer with the equipment.
TrueBeam was engineered to perform sophisticated radiosurgery and radiation therapy procedures with pinpoint accuracy. By choreographing imaging, beam delivery and motion management, it enables faster and more accurate tumor targeting in the treatment of challenging cancers throughout the body, including those in the head and neck region, lung, breast, prostate and liver.
"This increased level of precision will make it possible for doctors to treat a moving lung tumor as if it were standing still," Andrea Schelin, Director of Oncology, said. "By synchronizing treatment with tumor position changes throughout the respiratory cycle, we will be able to reduce the margin of healthy tissue affected by the treatment beam."
According to Schelin, the more healthy tissue that can be spared from radiation during treatment typically can mean fewer side effects, such as nausea, for the patient.
"Intelligent" automation further speeds treatments with an up to five-fold reduction in the number of steps needed for imaging, positioning and treating patients. A standard intensity-modulated treatment that would typically take ten minutes can be completed in less than two minutes. Complex radiosurgery that typically takes 40 to 60 minutes can be completed in just five to 20 minutes.
“TrueBeam opens the door to many new possibilities for Trinity cancer patients, especially those with difficult-to-treat tumors,” said Dr. Thomas Stoffel, radiation oncologist at the Trinity Cancer Center. “It gives us a wide range of new capabilities and truly is a ground-breaking advancement in cancer care.”
In addition, the TrueBeam imager can generate 3-D images of the tumor and surrounding anatomy faster than ever, all with a reduced X-ray dose. These images are used to fine-tune a patient’s position prior to and during the treatment process.
Trinity will use the TrueBeam system for all forms of advanced external-beam radiotherapy including image-guided radiotherapy and radiosurgery (IGRT and IGRS), intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT), stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT) and RapidArc® radiotherapy.
Trinity President and CEO Rick Seidler pointed to a long history of Trinity “firsts” in the delivery of high-quality, groundbreaking cancer care in the Quad-Cities. One of Trinity’s predecessor hospitals – Lutheran Hospital – provided the first source of radiation therapy in the area in 1964 and later added the area’s first linear accelerator in 1977. In addition, Trinity was the first in the area to receive accreditation from the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer in 1979, an honor it has maintained ever since. Only about 25 percent of all hospitals across the United States receive this honor.
“Trinity has historically been a leader in treating our community’s cancer patients,” said Trinity President and CEO Rick Seidler. “Adding a technology like the TrueBeam system to our arsenal of cancer treatment options is in line with our long tradition of offering firsts for our area’s patients.”
Trinity will begin treating its first patients with the new equipment during the first week of Aug. 6-10. A public open house will be held at a later date this fall to showcase the equipment and its renovated surroundings.